3 Reasons You Haven’t Found Your Life’s Calling
Nowadays, finding meaning in life is the “in” thing, and if you aren’t doing it or doing it “right”, then you aren’t normal. Deficient even. As if we already don’t feel lost enough, society has this way of making us feel like even more of a loser when our lives don’t line up with the images we are besieged with. I’m talking about you Instagram, with your perfectly filtered travel photos, stainless relationships, and flawless fitspo.
So for those of you who are searching desperately for your life’s calling, wondering how it is you seem to be “getting it wrong”, or why everyone else seems to have discovered the grand reason they were placed on planet Earth while you’re wallowing in video games and chocolate cake (not speaking from personal experience or anything), here are a few reasons why you may be feeling a little lost:
1. You’ve fallen into the death trap of ignoring your inner voice.
I used to do this thing at my desk job when I was bored or unsatisfied with work where I would browse the Internet for hours (instead of actually, you know, working) looking for new opportunities and ways in which I could make myself more appealing or marketable in the job search so that I could get out of my miserable current situation. Coding, data analysis, grant writing, the list of profitable possibilities was endless. I remember thinking, “If only I could code I could make boat loads of money which I could then use to do things I actually enjoy. There’s a high demand for it, so why not?” The problem is I don’t actually like coding. In fact I’m pretty terrible with anything that involves logic and math. So why the hell would I even consider this a possibility?
The resume has become a necessary evil, and in today’s job market where diversification is essential to successful career growth, it can be easy to fall into the trap of “chasing the resume”. Going after the jobs and skills that are in demand or what others perceive to be measures of success may be fulfilling in the short term if we happen to be successful at it. But the reality is, your resume is not you. It is more often than not a one page, two-dimensional representation of the mask you wear in order to get a job that pays the bills or pleases your family. And if you’re caught up in the cacophony of what others dictate as success, it can be terribly difficult to listen to that little voice inside of you, clamoring to get out, that says,
2. You’re Afraid.
There’s this nasty little parasite going around that makes us think weird things about how meaning is supposed to appear in our lives. I imagine it’s a bit like an alien race invading Earth, determined to stifle the growth of humanity. It tells us that a life’s purpose is inborn, that only people who are special have a calling. Or, it tells us that the only, and I mean only, way to be successful is to have a fully fleshed out plan in advance to ensure we don’t fail.
Right now I want you to reach down deep inside of you, pull that parasite out, and kill it with fire. It might hurt a bit, but I promise it won’t kill you. Go grab your handy dandy fire blower out of the closet, and light that shit up. Because that parasite, that belief that we aren’t all special, that we cannot, must not fail- it’s a lie. “I must have a stable job in order to find and pursue my calling, I must make money with my calling, I’m not good enough to pursue the things I’m truly passionate about…”
I’ve thought it all, until my brain started smoking from the fear. And it’s simply not true. Because if you can be successful doing the things you hate, then why the hell can’t you be successful doing the things you’re passionate about?
3. You’ve been covertly training for your calling without even realizing it.
Finding a calling is a lot like doing scientific research on yourself and collecting data on what works and what doesn’t. Our entire lives are spent learning the lessons that help us discover what we are truly passionate about, what we are good at, and how we best adjust to the difficulties of life.
Remember that boyfriend who cheated on you with a twelve year old and then went to prison? That time you met your father for the first time after he abandoned you 15 years prior? The three times you were rejected for a promotion despite how much you kicked ass at your job and were the most qualified for the position?
All of the experiences you endure teach you the lessons you need that will finally lead you to who you are called to be. And it doesn’t stop there, because callings can and will change just as you change. They are in essence, you- the things that move you to tears with happiness, the things you are so damn good at you lose track of time, the things that you loved doing as a kid but everyone says isn’t worth your time and effort as an adult. These are the things that line the path to your calling.
So if you find yourself wondering why your naturally messy and imperfect life lacks meaning, you aren’t alone. It may feel like it, but I promise you that behind all the pictures of a perfectly tanned, toned woman with her perfectly white sheets and perfectly scrumptious looking salads- is a hot mess eating chocolate cake while riding to work on the struggle bus. And that’s what makes her beautiful. It’s that struggle that gives our lives meaning and helps us to discover our calling.